Sunday, 26 November 2017

A Parisian Tour Guide

This past weekend and two weeks ago I had my first weekend visitors in Paris and I assumed my role as a Parisian tour guide. While I don't claim to know all of Paris at all yet, I think I have started to know my way around the areas I spend most of my time. Having people here also means that I start to get to tick things of my Paris list, it also means I have an excuse to try some of the hundreds of amazing restaurants in Paris!

Venus de Milo
While Elliott was here I finally had an excuse to go to the Louvre, I mean considering I live right next to it, it was about time! It was great because it is free if you are under 26 and have ID from the EU - just got straight through, don't bother with a ticket - also top tip, go to the entrance in the carousel du louvre, the shopping centre under the louvre because there is a direct entrance into the museum with no waiting time, unlike the entrance through the pyramids outside which has an average waiting time of 2hrs. Also, we both decided that the Mona Lisa was very underwhelming.

Place des Vosges 

Another stop on Kate and Elliott's tour around Paris was maison de Victor Hugo, one of the place's Victor Hugo lived. Again, another free one for those under 26, and although it is not very big as it is just his apartment, it is very interesting, for me anyway cause I have a slight obsession with Les Mis. It is also in the area of Paris called Le Marias which is full of very pretty cobbled streets.

Champs Elysees

While Elliott was here we also made it to the armistice ceremony at the arc du triomph as it was 11/11. It was very atmospheric and although we got caught in the cold and rain and didn't quite get to see Macron laying the wreath (apart from on the big screen), my housemate Hannah bumped into Sarkozy, casual. 11/11 is more of a big deal in France as it is a public holiday so it was really interesting to see how it is 'celebrated' or remembered differently.
Ell and I also went to a restaurant (widely recommended by my housemate Jake and my mum) called Boullion Chartier in the 9th which is a classic French bistro with cheap, traditional food and wine. You can't book here so be prepared to queue, especially on a Saturday night when we went, but they serve Sangria in the queue so it is not all bad! - also it seems to help if you speak a little bit of French to the host as they will get you through the queue quicker.

Hotel des Invalides
Madeline Girls!

With it being Beth's first time in Paris we literally had just Saturday to try and see the whole of Paris - and I think we seemed to manage it! First stop was a wander through Tuileries, followed by trying to avoid the rain in Jardin du Luxembourg and a walk down to the Catacombs - which we didn't make it into because the queue was so long, that will be one for another day (it is still on my list). Next stop was over to Notre Dame for lunch before heading over to Hotel des Invalides to see Napoleon's tomb where we encountered a group of French school girls just like in Madeline!

prive de desserts - my new fav place

From there it was a short walk over to the Eiffel tower so Beth could get a good photo up close before we headed over to the Christmas market a La Defense. Our last stop of the day was my new favourite restaurant, prive de dessert at the top of the 9th (Metro: Anvers). I've been wanting to try this place for ages, ever since I saw it on Time Out and it didn't disappoint! The concept of the restaurant is that your main meal is a dessert (I had a banana split) and it looks like the dessert but is actually made out of main meal items (my banana split was actually sea bass and potatoes) and your dessert is a main (I had spag bol which was actually lemon tart). Although it wasn't particularly cheap, it was worth it!

Big Love, 75003
In Paris, Sunday's are for Brunch. Never has this been more true today as bright and earlyish we walked over to Cafe Big Love in the 3rd for Brunch. Big Love is part of the Big Momma chain of French-Italian restaurants which are great because they serve amazing food (we had the wild pancakes with blueberries and Chantilly cream and the truffle, Parmesan eggs) served at great prices. It looks super cute too!

All in all its been a lovely couple of weekends that has really helped me to appreciate Paris and helped my knock some things off my list which still stands at:
- Disneyland Paris
- Catacombs
- Sacre Coeur (still haven't been)
- Ernest Hemmingway Cafe
- Pompidou Centre
- Musee Rodin
- Go somewhere to eat Raclette

Let me know if you have any must-dos in Paris that I can add to my list!

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Winter in Paris

So I think it is safe to say that as it is now certainly mid-November and that winter is officially here. In Paris, winter brings the freezing cold days in January when the wind whips off the Seine and makes you feel cold in every single part of your body and you can never wear too many layers but winter at the moment means the beginning of the build-up to Christmas. Today I have taken a couple of hours this afternoon to have a wander around some of the streets around the area where I live to appreciate some of the Christmas displays that have been going up. Christmas music is being played in the cafes and decorations are everywhere so it is finally time to get Christmassy and excited for the holidays.

(Made of Balloons)
Galerie Vivienne 

Galerie Lafayette's infamous tree

While wandering around Galerie Lafayette, well I say wandering, trying to get around all the tourists, I was amazed at the pure luxury of the place, the opulent wealth, which got me thinking about something I have wanted to write about for a while now. While the beauty of Paris at Christmas is exciting, and I can't wait to go to the markets and embrace all the Christmassy activities, it is hard to ignore my privilege at this time of year when I'm walking around the streets of Paris and there is a homeless man, woman or family on every street corner begging for money. All I want to do it give them something because it breaks my heart that I get to go home to a warm bed and these people, who are people and deserve to have a home as much I do, don't have the safety of a roof over their heads or know when they will next eat, but with so many homeless in Paris, it is hard to know where to begin.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year for those that have families to go to and warm places to share food around the table, but this year, as every year, I want to remember, and to remind myself that it is not all fun and games for everyone, and that when I'm feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, giving my spare change to even one person on the street will make that much difference to that one person and very little difference to what I can or can't afford in the long run. 

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

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